Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Brett Ewins 1955-2015

A very sad day today for comicdom as we see the passing of a true legend, Brett Ewins. As a tribute to this visionary artist, I thought I'd share some of my favourite covers, including a few high rez scans for people to pour over.
Brett drew his first cover (with long term collaborator Brendan McCarthy) way back in 1977, a Supercover for Prog 33...

Over the next sixteen years he went on to produce art for 35 prog covers as well as several star scans and reprint titles. He will be fondly remembered for his work on Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Judge Anderson (my first crush!), ABC Warriors and, of course, the amazing Bad Company.
Below I'll showcase some of his stunning covers. His amazing eye for design shines through and shows just why he was one of the very, very best.
A true visionary.
Let's start with some Dredds; while Brett's first Dredd was the classic 'Bring Me the Head of Dredd' in the Day the Law Died saga, his first cover was this cracker for the Apocalypse War...     
 The Haunting of Sector House 9 featured some of my favourite Ewins' artwork, including some sublime panel layouts and amazing lawmasters. It also had two brilliant covers...

Brett's way out designs made him the perfect choice to illustrate 'The Wally Squad' in Progs 390-352...
Finally for Dredd, two absolute stonkers. The first, an awesome piece that really epitomises the oppressive nature of Megacity Justice. Long arm of the law indeed!
And this beast of a cover which is just pure, fried genius!

Surely Brett's fantastically creepy work on 'The Haunting of Sector House 9' and 'The DNA Man' made him an absolute shoe in for the excellent Anderson tale 'The Possessed.' Brett's work on this strip was phenomenal, and as I've said before on this blog, gave me my first serious crush. Anderson was hot!

Below we have three covers, the first showing the major players in 'The Possession...'
 Next, Brett's wildly inventive creature designs surround a blood gorgeous Anderson...
Apologies for the quality of this but I had to include it, my favourite Anderson cover ever!
Also, this beautiful Star Scan... say, is it getting hot in here!?!
Of course, Brett worked on several Rogue Trooper strips and produced some great covers. I loved the cover of 323...

However, it's the ridiculous cover of 301 that I was dying to show!

And here's a Star Scan for Major Magnum, do you feel lucky Nort?

Of course, many will remember Brett for his outstanding work on Bad Company. This intelligent, powerhouse of a story featured sublime art and amazing character designs. Below is the first cover of the series, which gives us a startling introduction to our colourful cast...   
Here's hard nut Malcolm who broke his own rule of 'Never getting friendly' with people by sacrificing himself for Danny Franks...
 Some tremendous War Zombies (Malcolm was one of them...)
 Good old Kano...
 Thrax, another nasty bastard...
Sadly, this brings us to the end of this tribute to Brett, a truly talented and well loved creator. Though the artist has gone, he will live on through his incredible body of work for many generations to come.
Brett Ewins: The New Masters (1955 - 2015)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Going Hachette Crazy!

As I'm sure all readers will know, Hachette Partworks are bringing out the Judge Dredd Mega Collection. These beautifully produced books collect pertinent Dredd stories thematically, giving new readers some essential insight into the issues that have impacted on Megacity-One over the years, and a handy collection for those more established readers.

It would be remiss of me not to include the fantastic covers that accompany the series, so above we have Colin MacNeil's menacing Dredd from the 'America' collection. This fine, fine collection serves as an excellent introduction to Dredd's world, featuring classics such as America, America 2: Fading of the Light, Cadet, Judgement Call, Blood and Duty, Firepower and Snowstorm.

The second volume features one of my favourite Dreddworld designs of all time, the fearsome Mechanismo Mk1 robot. This collection includes Mechanismo, Mechanismo Returns, Body Count, S.A.M and Safe Hands.

The third issue collects fan favourite Epics, Blockmania and the Apocalypse War, so naturally the cover features Dredd with a stub gun courtesy of Mr Carlos Ezquerra!

I can't recommend this series highly enough, go straight to http://www.judgedreddcollection.com/ and subscribe right now!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Jake Lynch - No one expects the Russian Inquisition!

Sadly, Prog 1917 sees the final part of the excellent Orlok strip, Eurozoned. Our resourceful anti-hero has been captured by the fiery Khukov and is undergoing some rather nasty looking torture! Throughout this strip, new droid Jake Lynch has dazzled me with amazing art - his use of tone, panel layout and architectural design have absolutely blown me away! I see touches of Flint and Jock in his programming, as well as Jake's own unmistakable touch - most exciting droid for some time!

Over to Jake to tell us how this painful looking cover came about... 

"Tharg sent the brief 'Khukov's right arm extending down from the left of the page, holding a scalpel, while in the b/g we see Orlok strapped in a chair, looking worse for wear, but unaccountably grinning, you snivelling wretch." Good old Tharg, nice to see he's mellowing in his old age...

"Brief in hand I begin by quickly knocking up some thumbnails for The Mighty One to peruse (this angered him greatly). Sealed with a Rigellian Hotshot, he selected number 5."

Check out those golden spirals and Z patterns! Number 6 all the way for me!

I call this 'Visions from the vasectomy clinic.'

"I first attempted to to simply redraw it using the thumbnail as reference but no matter how much I tried, I didn't feel I quite nailed the attitude of the thumb so decided to simply enlarge it and use it as the rough. I use Manga Studio to do a really awful line drawing, picking out what I feel are the important points before exporting it into Photoshop to do the rest."

"I spy, with my bloody eye, something beginning with S..."

"I've mentioned in other places how I paint - start with a tonal study which I then use as a starting point for colour, tweaking and tweaking until it's done. Generally, when painting, you start with the the big strokes, big brushes, blocking in the shapes. As you go along, the brushes get smaller as more and more detail is added til you're done. I add a Letratone effect to mirror the strip.  I keep the smile subtle, but, in hindsight, I kind of wish I hadn't.  I paint it with a large bleed area on the off-chance it needs to be re-jigged for type."

"Smiiiiile, though your heart (and everything else) is aching!
Smile, though it may be breaking!"

"I like the tone thats emerging, but decide to go with something a bit dirtier..."

"Fetch... the comfy chair!"

"Nervously, I submit the finished pic to Tharg with a ration of Styrene cups to ease the process. As I'm still standing I presume it all went w- ARRRRGHhhh!"

Sadly, at this point, Jake's voice was drowned out by the sound of maniacal giggling from Mek-Quake and the sound of screeching metal - I hope he's okay... 

"Aw maaaan, can I not even have a shit in peace?"

And here's how the cover looks on your thrillshelf, fab!

As a bonus, Jake sent his fabulous Orlok badge painting, I love, love, love this!

"Say my name..."

Massive thanks to Jake for sending the images and write up, very entertaining and informative. I do hope we get more Orlok soon, (and a Dredd from Jake too, pretty please Mr Tharg?)  You can see more of Jake's fantastic art here!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown - The Wurminators!

Yuck! Grossest cover of the year to date? Anna and the crusty old knights of the Order finally take on the Worm Men who threaten to end time itself! 

Who better to depict sword and sorcery than celebrated artist Glenn Fabry? Below are Glenn's deft inks which are just beautiful (well, as beautiful as a maggot-ridden worm man can be!)

Maggot Killer 

Then it's over to colourist Adam Brown to add some magic!

Looks like Wormy had Spaghetti for lunch... 

And here's how the cover looks at your local thrill merchant - wiggly!

Dr Bob's worming tablets would sort them right out

The dynamic duo have given us some truly zarjaz covers over the last year. I absolutely loved this Saint of Killers-esque painting for Ichabod Azrael...

 Dang tootin'

"Just how fast can you preach?"

Black Seuk also got the Fabry and Brown treatment in this disgusting cover of Prog 1896...

Seuks to be them... 

Slicey Dicey Oncey Twicey! 

The pair also gave us this amazing Megazine cover for the Scottish referendum. Adam's colour REALLY pop on this one...

Dredd's hand had to be strategically put there as the guy in the picture is Auld Willy McLongcock... 

I hope that's rainwater...

Glenn also works with talented colourist Ryan Brown and the pair gave us this bone crunching cover of Meg 348 - ouch!

99 Code Dredd

"It's just a flesh wound!"

HUGE thanks to Glenn for the images, he was teasing a fully painted Dredd cover on his Facebook page which I'm sure will be absolutely stunning!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Brothersss Grimm...

Oh my life, cover artist of the year Greg Staples is back with a cover to chill you to the bone! Death and his brothers, up close and personal... he just has to put his hand in and ssssqueeze! I wrote to Greg, enthusing about the amazing job he'd done on the cover and he wrote back saying it was "A fairly quick one!" Sheesh!

We are just over the half way point in Dark Justice and things are starting to get really scary - with Dredd and co trapped in space with the Dark Judges, what nefarious plans await them? Those who attended LSCC last year may recall that John Wagner cryptically teased that at the end of this strip "Dredd might not win..." Hmmm, I'm a little worried.

Greg kindly sent some production snaps from his studio, below is his under painting, wow!

Mortis does a lovely manicure.

Here is some nice detail...

"Jusssst cough ssssssir..."
And Death's cheeky grin, aw, what a sweetie...

Oh that Death, always taking sssselfies!

Here's it is with the colour applied...

I think Sydney needs some Plaqueaway toothpaste ASAP.

And how the breath taking piece looks on Greg's easel, wowzers!

"Sigh...Okay then Sydney, just one more time - This little piggy went to market..."

And finally, how the Prog looks on your shelf, creepy!

Huge thanks to Greg for taking time out of his busy schedule to send those fantastic images, we are very lucky squaxx!